Western Province eager to get back to business
CAPE TOWN - Western Province assistant coach Dawie Snyman says that while it will be an adjustment playing on Boxing Day, the players are excited to get back to business after their bye week.
Province will host Griquas at Newlands on Saturday (kick-off 4.30 pm) and will be giving their players a day off on the 25th.
Traditionally, this time falls under the South African off-season, but there can be no doubt that WP are going to want to take this fixture as seriously as any other seeing as they want to host a home semi-final and give the iconic stadium a solid send-off.
And in order for that to remain a realistic goal, they will have to win all three their remaining matches, especially as there are just three points separating fourth-placed Province from the second-placed Lions.
Speaking in an online press conference with the media yesterday, assistant coach Dawie Snyman explained how the team will be approaching this period mentally.
“It was nice to see each other again after spending time with our families, especially at this time of year when everyone is on holiday and you see your friends hanging out with their families,” Snyman said.
“It was an opportunity for us to catch up with our loved ones.
“Obviously, the guys are excited to see each other and get back to task.
“It's quite exciting (playing on Boxing Day).
“It is a bit of an adjustment. “Since lockdown, the mindset was to get back on the field and play rugby again, so we will take playing rugby on any day.
“It is a bit weird to have a training session just before Christmas and know you are playing just after Christmas, but it's nice to be back.
“We will be training in the morning of the 24th – Thursday – then everyone will spend Christmas with their families and we will get together on the morning of the matchday.
“We as a team are quite family-orientated. That also applies to the team itself, so it is quite nice seeing each other around Christmas for a change.”
On the injury front, Province could be boosted by the return of wing Sergeal Petersen. Flyhalf Tim Swiel – who took a knock in their win against the Pumas at Newlands in their last outing at home, could retain the No 10 jersey for their meeting with Griquas.
While there were no shortage of injury issues ahead of that game, tighthead was a major headache as Springbok front-ranker Frans Malherbe withdrew from the match shortly before kick-off. Youngster Lee Marvin Mazibuko went a full game and did a solid job, with Sazi Sandi and Neetling Fouche also unavailable due to injury.
Snyman did, however, confirm that Fouche, who sustained a concussion against the Lions, had started training again and was undergoing his return-to-play protocol.
The rest of the tighthead props in the squad had also been training.